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United States Patent Application 20120037273
Kind Code A1
GRAFFIN; Andre February 16, 2012

Constant level filler spout and a filler carousel including it

Abstract

The constant level filler spout comprises a spout body comprising: an annular connection portion configured to press in leaktight manner against the neck of a container, co-operating therewith to define a delivery zone; a delivery duct connected to a liquid feed source via a delivery valve and opening out into the center of the delivery zone; and an exhaust vent connected to an exhaust orifice via an exhaust valve and opening out into the periphery of the delivery zone.


Inventors: GRAFFIN; Andre; (Winfield, IL)
Serial No.: 207843
Series Code: 13
Filed: August 11, 2011

Current U.S. Class: 141/290
Class at Publication: 141/290
International Class: B65B 1/04 20060101 B65B001/04


Foreign Application Data

DateCodeApplication Number
Aug 11, 2010FR1056570

Claims



1. A constant level filler spout comprising a spout body having: an annular connection portion configured to press in leaktight manner against the neck of a container, co-operating therewith to define a delivery zone; a delivery duct connected to a liquid feed source via a delivery valve and opening out into the delivery zone; and an exhaust vent connected to an exhaust orifice via an exhaust valve and opening out into the delivery zone; wherein the delivery duct opens out into the center of the delivery zone while the exhaust vent opens out into the periphery thereof.

2. A filler spout according to claim 1, wherein the exhaust vent opens out laterally into an annular slot extending at the periphery of the delivery zone.

3. A filler spout according to claim 2, wherein the delivery duct defines one side of the annular slot.

4. A filler spout according to claim 3, wherein the delivery duct is a straight tube passing through the spout body.

5. A filler spout according to claim 1, wherein the exhaust valve lies outside the delivery zone.

6. A filler spout according to claim 1, wherein the delivery valve is controlled independently of the presence of a container.

7. A filler spout according to claim 1, wherein the exhaust valve is offset laterally from the delivery duct.

8. A filler spout according to claim 7, wherein the exhaust valve includes an enclosure connected to the exhaust vent and having a wall including the exhaust orifice, and a floating body arranged in the enclosure in register with the exhaust orifice.

9. A filler spout according to claim 8, wherein the floating body comprises a ball arranged inside the enclosure between the exhaust orifice and a float.

10. A filler spout according to claim 9, wherein the float is bell-shaped.

11. A filler carousel including a rotary platform carrying a series of filler spouts according to claim 7, the exhaust valve of each spout being disposed radially on the outside relative to the delivery duct.
Description



[0001] The present invention relates to a constant level filler spout and to a filler carousel including it.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Filler carousels are known that comprise a rotary platform carrying a series of constant level filler spouts, each comprising a spout body having: [0003] an annular connection portion configured to press in leaktight manner against the neck of a container, co-operating therewith to define a delivery zone; [0004] a delivery duct connected to a liquid feed source via a delivery valve and opening out into the delivery zone; and [0005] an exhaust vent connected to an exhaust orifice via an exhaust valve and opening out into the delivery zone.

[0006] In existing filler spouts, the exhaust vent is formed by a pipe opening out into the center of the delivery zone while the delivery duct opens out into a peripheral annular slot.

[0007] The friction of the liquid against the walls of the annular slot reduces the effective flow section for the liquid such that present constant level filler spouts have a delivery rate that is low compared with other filler spouts such as weight filler spouts.

OBJECT OF THE INVENTION

[0008] An object of the invention is to provide a constant level filler spout having an improved delivery rate.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0009] In order to achieve this object, the invention provides a constant level filler spout in which the delivery duct opens out into the center of the delivery zone while the exhaust vent opens out into the periphery thereof.

[0010] Thus, the liquid flows as a cylindrical jet presenting a maximum delivery rate for the flow section.

[0011] In an advantageous version of the invention, the exhaust vent opens out laterally into an annular slot extending at the periphery of the delivery zone. This provides a flow section that is sufficient for the exhaust, while minimizing the width of the annular slot.

[0012] In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the delivery duct defines one side of the annular slot. This minimizes the space that is lost in the delivery zone such that the delivery duct may be of optimum section.

[0013] According to another advantageous aspect of the invention, the exhaust valve is offset laterally from the delivery duct. Under such circumstances, and preferably for a filler carousel having a rotary platform carrying a series of filler spouts, the exhaust valve of each filler spout is located radially on the inside relative to the delivery duct. This minimizes the space occupied by each filler spout at the periphery of the rotary platform such that an optimum number of filler spouts can be installed on a rotary platform of given dimensions.

[0014] Furthermore, prior art filler spouts generally include a delivery valve that is opened as a result of the connection portion being pressed against a container. During closure of the delivery valve, the liquid flows into the container in an amount that varies as a function of the speed at which the delivery valve is closed. The accuracy with which the level is obtained inside a container is thus affected.

[0015] According to another advantageous aspect of the invention, the delivery valve is controlled independently of the presence of a container. Thus, the delivery valve may be closed before the container is removed so that the level of liquid in the container is unaffected by the operation of removing the container.

[0016] In addition, prior art filler spouts generally include controlled valves for emptying the exhaust vent.

[0017] According to yet another aspect of the invention, the exhaust valve includes an enclosure connected to the exhaust vent and having a wall including the exhaust orifice, and a floating body arranged in the enclosure in register with the exhaust orifice, the floating body preferably comprising a ball arranged inside the enclosure between the exhaust orifice and a float that is advantageously bell-shaped.

[0018] Thus, a rise in the level of the liquid in the enclosure moves the floating body until the exhaust orifice is closed. Conversely, a drop in the level of liquid inside the enclosure causes the exhaust orifice to open.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0019] Other characteristics and advantages of the invention appear on reading the following description of a non-limiting, preferred embodiment of the filler spout of the invention with reference to the accompanying figures, in which:

[0020] FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic perspective view of the filler spout of the invention mounted on a filler carousel, being shown in section on a radial vertical plane containing the axis of the delivery duct; and

[0021] FIG. 2 is a partially cut-away fragmentary perspective view of a filler carousel fitted with filler spouts of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0022] With reference to the figures, the filler spout of the invention comprises a spout body 1 having a vertical bore 2 passing therethrough, which bore has a setback 3 at its bottom end with the bottom edge 4 of the setback forming an annular connection portion configured to provide leaktight pressure against the neck 5 of a container, the setback defining a delivery zone 6.

[0023] A delivery duct constituted by a straight tube 7 is mounted in the bore 2 and opens out into the center of the delivery zone 6. The delivery tube 7 extends beyond the connection portion 4 over a height that is a function of the looked-for level in the container, as explained below. The delivery tube 7 is held in place in the bore 2 by an O-ring 8 that is compressed by a screw-in bushing 9.

[0024] At the top portion of the delivery tube 7, there is a flare 10 that acts as a seat for a valve 11. At its top end, the delivery tube 7 opens out into the bottom of a feed tank 16 forming a pivoting platform of a filler carousel having the filler spouts mounted thereon.

[0025] A control rod 12 is fastened to the delivery valve 11 and passes through the feed tank 16. The control rod 12 is guided in the vicinity of its top end by a bushing 28 (see FIG. 2) that is fastened to the cover 29 of the feed tank 16. At its top end, the control rod 12 includes a control wheel 13 that co-operates with a cam 14 carried by a structure (not shown) of the filler carousel. The position of the delivery valve 11 is thus controlled independently of the presence of a container.

[0026] The bottom portion of the bore 2 includes a setback 17 that co-operates with the delivery duct 7 to define an annular slot 18 that opens out into the periphery of the delivery zone 6. The annular slot 18 is associated with an exhaust vent 19 connected to an exhaust orifice 20 via an exhaust valve. In the embodiment shown, the exhaust valve is a hollow ball 21 supported by a bell-shaped float 22. The ball and the float are mounted in an enclosure 23 that is defined by a bore 24 of the spout body 1 with the exhaust vent 19 opening out therein, and by a cap 25 closing the bore. The cap 25 includes the exhaust orifice 20 and is fastened to the spout body 1 in leaktight manner by means of an O-ring 26 that is compressed by screws 27. The ball 21 and the float 22 form a floating body.

[0027] The operation of the filler spout of the invention is as follows. With the delivery valve 11 closed, a container is put into place with its neck 5 bearing against the connection portion 4. During rotation of the platform, the control wheel 13 reaches the cam 14 and opens the delivery valve 11. When the container is full, the liquid continues to flow by passing via the annular slot 18 and the exhaust duct 19 until the liquid in the enclosure 23 reaches a level that is sufficient to lift the float 22 and hold the ball 21 pressed against the exhaust orifice. The delivery valve 11 is then closed and the container is separated from bearing against the connection portion 4. During this movement, the portion of the delivery tube 7 that is engaged in the container releases the corresponding volume while the liquid contained in the exhaust vent flows under gravity back into the container. In this context, it should be observed that for a given liquid, the quantity of liquid that rises into the enclosure 23 for closing the exhaust orifice 20 is constant regardless of the depth to which the delivery tube 7 penetrates into the container. In order to obtain the desired level in the container, it therefore suffices to adjust the height to which the delivery tube 7 penetrates into the container.

[0028] It should also be observed that the ball 21 is not connected to an external actuator: the exhaust orifice is closed and opened as a result solely of variation in the level of liquid in the enclosure 23. Purging operations are thus triggered solely by removal of the container and they are performed independently of any external control or of any controlled actuators.

[0029] In the embodiment shown, the exhaust valve is offset laterally into a position that is radially towards the inside relative to the delivery duct, as can be seen in FIG. 2. The space occupied by the filler spout at the periphery of the pivoting platform is thus kept down to a minimum, thereby enabling the dimensions of the platform to be reduced for a given number of filler spouts.

[0030] Naturally, the invention is not limited to the above-described preferred embodiment, and it may be subjected to embodiment variations that will appear to the person skilled in the art without going beyond the ambit of the invention as defined by the claims.

[0031] In particular, although the exhaust vent in the preferred embodiment comprises an annular slot, it is possible to make the exhaust vent in the form of one or more holes opening out into the periphery of the delivery zone 6.

[0032] Although the filler spout is shown with a delivery valve that is controlled independently of the presence of a container, the filler spout of the invention could also be made with a delivery valve that is opened as a result of a container being put into place.

[0033] Although the preferred embodiment of the exhaust valve comprises a float that increases the rate at which the valve closes, the exhaust valve could equally well be in the form of a simple hollow ball. In addition, although the float is shown as being in the form of a bell, thus enabling it to be lighter in weight and increasing the rate at which the valve closes, the float could be made in the form of a float that is closed, in particular when the liquid that is being packaged is very sensitive to pollution, such as milk.

[0034] In a variant, the exhaust valve may be offset laterally into a position that is radially outside the delivery duct. Positioning the exhaust valve on the inside or the outside serves to reduce the space occupied by the filler spout in a circumferential direction of the pivoting platform. Adding an exhaust valve therefore does not cause the number of filler spouts on a platform of given size to be reduced.

[0035] In another preferred embodiment of the invention, the feed source is at atmospheric pressure such that filling takes place under atmospheric pressure. The filling cycle preferably does not include any prior gas rinsing of the containers for filling. This enables shorter filling cycle times to be obtained.

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